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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mandatory sex education

The Sarangani lawmaker also aired his concern regarding what he sees the bil requiring mandatory sex education for elementary and high school students. "Puwede po bang tuimanggi ang isang estudyante sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang mga magulang?" he asked.

Lagman said he has also answered the question during Bagatsing's interpellation. "Iyan pong mandatory sex education, nagpadala na po kami ng amendment."

He said parents who do not want their children taught about sexual reproduction and reproductive health in schools will be allowed by the proposed law to refuse to send their children to the specific classes.

"Iyung mga magulang na ayaw nilang pag-aralin ang kanilang mga anak (tungkol sa sex education), puwede. Ire-respect po natin sila, but this might prejudice their children," he said.

Pacquiao, who was apparently reading from a list and failed to note Lagman's answer, claimed that many students will not graduate from schools because of sex education in schools. "Ang compulsory sex education ay labag sa constitution," he said.

Lagman repeated his answer that students will not be compelled to attend sex education in schools if their parents object. "Ang kanilang mga magulang, may karapatan na huwag payagan ang kanilang anak. Walang basehan iyung apprehension na walang makaka-graduate. Exempted sa pag-attend, exempted din sa pagkuha ng periodic tests. Ang mga estudyante po ay makakagraduate."

He also cited surveys showing that an overwhelming percentage of parents and student want family planning taught in schools.

Lagman said the RH bill also respects freedom of religion. However, he explained that freedom of religion, based on Supreme Court rulings, is not absolute. "Freedom to believe is absolute. Freedom to exercise belief is subject to police power," he added.

Pacquiao continued his attack on the RH bill, citing a legal case in the United States involving Amish ultraconservatives, who have refused to adopt modern technology and modern ways of living. The Amish do not educate their children past the eighth grade, which resulted in the Wisconsin vs. Yoder case in 1972 when 3 Amish men were fined for refusing to send their children to high school.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court later ruled in favor of the 3 and overturned their conviction, saying universal education should not violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment of the U.S constitution.

Lagman repeated his earlier answer, stressing that that parents are allowed to have their kids exempted from sex education and family planning classes in schools. "Ang malayang pagpapasiya nasa mga magulang," he said.

"Wala na nga pong obligasyon na ito, tinanggal na nga ito."

He added that another amendment on House Bill 4244 removes employers' responsibility under the bill.

"Amended na ang provision na ito. Hindi mo (Pacquiao) ata narinig dahil nag-eensayo ka para sa laban mo," Lagman said.

"Incomplete ang impormasyong ibinigay sa iyo. Hindi ito sapilitan. Freedom of informed choice. Simbahan at state ay walang karapatang pilitin ang mga mamamayan, Katoliko na mamili ng family planning method," he said.

Pacquiao then shifted his attention on what he believes as teh RH bill being a waste of taxpayer's money. "Ilang bilyon ang pondo? Hindi kaya lalong magpapahirap sa taxpayer?"
Lagman said he had answered the question in previous day, during the interpellation of Manila 5th District Rep. Amado Bagatsing.
"Ang budget para sa RH bill ay maliit kumpara sa mega-projects of government na konti ang beneficiaries. The budget for the RH bill is in vicinity of P3 billion... very meager percentage of the trillion-peso budget of government," the Bicol lawmaker said.
He also cited a Unicef statement saying that "family planning will bring benefits to more people at less cost to any known human technology known to every mankind today."
"Ito ba ay ipagkakait natin sa mga ina at kababaihan?" Lagman asked.
"Too young, too old, too many, too soon. Iyan po ay high-risk pregnancies. Kung wala po silang access sa family planning, marami pong namamatay sa ating ina. Ipagkakait po ba natin pondo ng gobyerno? Eleven moms die daily," he added.
He said that the country also has United Nations Millenium Development Goals to meet. "Malayo pa po tayo sa ating target."